In November 2021, China is to lose its edition of Fortnite. Iconic for the Western audience, this Battle Royale game was adjusted to cater to the policy of China regarding violence in games. This version has been available for two years as a “test” version, and now Epic admits this test is failed.
There were significant differences in the Chinese version of the game. It was called Fortress Night instead of Fortnite (maybe the pun seemed too sophisticated for the audience not speaking English). Other differences included a reduced level of violence. To achieve it in a Battle Royale game, everything that happens on the island is presented as a simulation where soldiers send their holograms and control them. Heh, it’s indeed more realistic than the original premise! Another change is about microtransactions, or rather their absence. Finally, the game servers are all located in China. For this, Epic Games had to collaborate with Tencent, a major Chinese power in the game industry, which also owns about 40% of Epic.
Chinese version does not have much time left. New players cannot register since November 1. Existing accounts are so far active, but the servers will close on November 15, with no return. The closure seems to be irreversible.
A possible reason why Epic and Tencent decided to give it up is the crusade of the Chinese authorities against online gaming. Lately, severe restrictions have been implemented that only allow Chinese children to spend three hours a week at online games, and these hours are restricted too. Given all this, the Chinese version of Fortnite may be just too expensive to maintain and not profitable enough (if at all). It was one of the rare Western games that made it to the market of Mainland China. But Fortnite failed to be the last man standing.
What do you think of this change? Is it fair for Chinese fans to close the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.